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NEWS | Nov. 22, 2023

Alaska Military Youth Academy honored with Gold Pan Award

By Balinda O’Neal Alaska National Guard

The spotlight of recognition shone brightly on the Alaska Military Youth Academy during the Anchorage Chamber's 66th Annual Gold Pan Awards at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage, Nov. 17.

The Chamber presented the AMYA with the Gold Pan Award in the Community Service category, underscoring its unwavering commitment to transforming the lives of Alaska's youth.

David McPhetres, AMYA director, said that the organization is dedicated to assisting Alaskan students who may be facing challenges in completing high school. The academy provides structure, discipline, and a supportive environment for students, including early mornings and continuous movement to instill valuable life skills.

He said that he change witnessed from admission to graduation is remarkable, with students actively engaging in job skills, academics, and community service.

“Over the past two years, students have contributed over 15,000 community service hours, equivalent to almost half a million dollars in community savings,” said McPhetres, also highlighting one of the best parts of his job – witnessing transformation. “The academy's impact is evident in the positive reactions of both students and their families, making the journey from admission to graduation a rewarding experience for all involved.”


The Gold Pan Awards celebrate businesses and individuals for their entrepreneurial excellence and steadfast commitment to Anchorage. Within the Community Service category, recognized businesses exemplify outstanding community service, creativity, and excellence, making significant contributions to Anchorage through both growth and quality performance.

This year’s Route 66-themed event added a touch of nostalgia, with a 50s-60s vibe, catering to vintage car enthusiasts and creating an atmosphere of celebration and camaraderie.
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